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The Sound Machine Archive Presents
2001 Drum Corps International
Show Reviews - As Posted on RAMD!

Page One of Reviews

Listed are the dates and the show site, the reviews will be filled in, if and when they are available or submitted.  The following reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers.  If you disagree with any comments, feel free to email the author, all reviews are signed with an email address.  If you want to add your review to this page, send any reviews, comments or questions to:
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Go to Page 2 of Reviews!

Wednesday June 20

Bowling Green, KY (DCM)

Excuse the typos and grammatical errors... I just got done driving for 2 hours

Capital Regiment ---
Good show.... very dirty. ALL Soloists had issues (mainly lacking high chops) but nonetheless a good show. Work hard and it will get them in the top 5 in div 2.

Crossmen ---
I enjoyed this show much more than last years. Obviously they were pretty dirty but that had lots of crowd pleasing elements. The soloists were probably the best of the night (at least, most consistent) --- major complaint about this show BESIDES it being traditional overdone jazz (harlem nocturne) was the brass not doing any drill at ALL during the dream break. Not even an attempt.

Cadets ---
This show reminds me of 95's "Swing" feel--- and especially the lacksidasical drill that is going on during that... it works but they just do it too long I think. The opener is FAST! The ballad is very interesting--- members of the brassline go down to one knee and even lay down completely (should be interesting in mud) during the ballad...Cadets won brass tonight by 1 tenth of a point. Cavies won drums by 1 tenth. Typical cadets show though, same guard unis from 96... it's just a big mix of everything they've done over the years and one thing new (aka YAMAHA DRUMS) The line wasn't nearly as good as I expected, but this was my first show this early in the season. The show ends with a modified waterfall that they added in later in the season last year.

Glassmen ---
Definitely the suprise of the night!!! The show grows on me from the first moment... I really don't care for the closer though. I expect seeing the g-men in the top 5 this year--- much improved music selection!!!!!

Cavaliers ---
VERY COOL SHOW. This show has to be very clean for it to contend for another title. I'm not sure the drumline can handle the book thats been written, they are VERY young. The four corners thing is not what I initially thought it would's very subliminal.. but very awesome. The music is catchy and listen for the recurring part in the timpani. Some licks from 2000 are in this very exciting show!

Pioneer ---
Sorry, but this is the worst I've ever seen Pioneer. The show just doesn't fit thel eve of playing they have (which isn't very high) -- it's too hard for them. Also with 48 brass line members theres an issue of field coverage and communciation between the brass in very spread out parts needs a lot of attention!

Southwind ---
The show is there.... but it's lacking. It doesn't really have the "punch" that last years show had. It's about as average as average gets. Nothing to set it apart... or at least I thought.

David Hill

Morning to all. This is my 17th year of attending Drum Corps contest, but the earliest show I’ve ever attended during a season. I am a Cadet Nut, true and Maroon. With that stated:

Capital Regiment
Enjoyed the show. The corps has lots of openings to fill. First viewing of the group. Lots of work ahead, but a good start to the Drum Corps season.

The show was Hot tonight and the crowd reacted to the impacts. The guard IMO was the best tonight. Love the dark red accent to the uniforms this year. Understand the comments about the drill, but think that will improve through the season. Nothing like the park and play show last year. Was my favorite corps of the evening.

The Cadet version of "Young Person’s..." is fresh. I’ve always enjoyed the piece (ie, Santa Clara). The drill during the opener moves fast,fast, fast. Moondance was fun and interesting, but I don’t know if I buy it. I would love to see the corps march more, IMO. "Vide Cor Meum" is beautiful. Very happy they changed the ending. I love "Prelude, Fugue and Riffs", but feel Farandole works better with the production. My ending comment is Work Hard, Work Hard, Work Hard. Undefeated is in the past, move forward.

I honestly have to say I was disappointed in their show. I guess some of the reviews I read here built up high expectations. The soloist is wonderful. One of the weakest parts of the show is the guard. This will probably improve with time, but at this point the guard is not well integrated into the show. Will be interesting to see what they chance and improve when I see them again in Murfreesboro.

The Cavies have a great package this year. Heard they were rewriting some of the show this week. For this early in the season, they looked good. Had no doubts they were Number 1 for the evening. Thought the spread between the Cadets and them would have be larger. Yes, the drum book is tough, but they will pull it together by the end of the season. The corner soloists were interesting, but the ladders?? Lots of drill to clean. Love the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" melody in the closer.

Don’t think one can say that Pioneer’s performance was their worst ever, IMO. They have lots of openings in the corps. The sound was very full for the horns on the field. You have to give the corps credit for performing after the Cavies. Tough group to follow.

My expectations for Southwind were also very high. I thought this would be their break through year into the top 12, but ???? Understand some remarks about sound projection. Wish they would have marched earlier in the contest. Think I would have appreciated the show better.

The location of the show was moved to Munfordville, KY from Bowling Green, KY. Wasn’t a bad place,just an extra 45 minute drive for me. The only negative comment I have about the contest is performance order. Having the Crossmen and the Cadets march before the break made it tougher watching and appreciating the corps after the Cavies. Mixing up the performance times, is this something new for this year?? Just wondering??

Jacksonville, AL will be interesting tonight because of theBlue Devil mix. Can’t wait to see the scores. My next and last show of the season will be in Murfreesboro for the Masters show. Looking forward to watching some of the corps practice during their stay in Middle Tennessee.


Tuesday June 19

Lexington, KY (DCM)

Someone asked so I'll do are my thoughts on last nights show.

First off, for the second year in a row...I saw absolutely NONE of the band kids that this show benefits doing anything at all to help (don't even think they were present)....that kinda irritates me.

The night was awesome for a show...picture it...Sicily,'ermind, on with the comments.

Colts for some reason could not attend so the show began with a standstill by was awesome!!!! Never heard anything louder than that final chord to Ice Castles!!!! Absolutely amazing!

Marion Glory Cadets: As mentioned in previous posts, doesn't seem they've had much preparation. Percussion is way overpowering, lots of horn people sticking out trying to make up for others. They had a VERY nice ballad, I very much enjoyed that. Horns sounded great on it. Their percussion line (including pit) is bigger than their hornline...and they said they still had a tenor spot open (that would bring them to 5 snare, 5 bass, and 3 tenor)...seems to me they would try to get some more horns. Nice job with potential!

Crossmen: My pick for the winner of the night! Crossmen were on fire! Great show! Music is great and well written! Guard is beautiful (Favorite of the night!)! Drill leaves something to be desired, but I'm sure it will be better and include more visual come August! Great job Crossmen, can't wait to see you tomorrow!!!

Pioneer: After seeing Pioneer last year, I was excited to see them again. DM uni's are hideous and guard uni's...well, they aren't jumper suits. =| I truly can't remember much about their show now...a friend mentioned their feet were not great. Their closer was nice. Hopefully they'll grab me next time.

Madison Scouts: Opened with the fleur de lis (of course) and got the crowd on it's feet. First chord: Wow! But for those that have seen it, that was not nearly as loud as the Ice Castle chord I mentioned earlier...=] These guys move and hardly ever stop! Musicwise, I felt no "continuity" just seemed like random stuff...maybe it's just me? The last half of the show Madison actually sounded like a "non-Madison" hornline. They had depth to their sound and it was actually quite nice. Their guard is tiny and only showed 1 or 2 holes in it...guard really disappears with their uni's...don't think I noticed a single move on their part. I do expect this show to gelatinize and next time I see them (July 25th) blow my head off! =] Great job guys, can't wait for Sevierville!

Southwind: One of the best mello lines in DCI....always a treat to hear those guys. =] Guard is usually one of my favorite...not true last night...the entire show seems a bit too SCVish...they are tryin' to pull it off but it just ain't happenin'. Not sure I like SW trying to pull of SCV....SW has always done music accessible to most anyone, again, not quite true this year. As for their performance, friend with me said the preshow run through was better. I preferred the uniformed performance. Brass line sounds great for right now....the music will come in time...once the music is together, the marching/drill will come too. Overall, it was a nice performance, but didn't grab me (yet).

As for all of you asking about appears that it IS a DCM thing for the home show corps to play the encore. SW played the encore tonight, but I didn't stick around...(had to catch up with RAMD's own Jason Litt) =]

Anyway, I know there is not any "real" info in this, but they are random thoughts that came about while sitting here at work--take 'em or leave 'em. Tomorrow night I see the big boys in Jacksonville! Wahoo!!!

Brandon =]

PS...Where were all the Souvies????? Madison was the only "full" booth. Crossmen and Southwind had a few tee's, that's about one else had anything.

Columbus, OH (DCM)

I would like to start out first by saying that this will be a review. A review with positive & negative comments. If you are offended by the latter, read no further. Also, these are merely my opions, take 'em or leave 'em.

Had a great time tonight. Had fantastic seats, right on the 50 two rows from the top of the bottom section. Absolutley ideal to me. This was my first taste of corps this season, and man was I starving! Columbus Crew stadium is a fantastic place for DCI. Thank you so much to the director of the Capital Regiment for moving it from the horrible stadium at Walnut Ridge HS!!!! There is no worse a place in the country for drum corps. So bad that I didn't even go last year and I live 2 miles away. Crew Stadium is night and day better. Seats I would guess at least 10,000 concert side. No track, would be perfect for a large regional DCI!!!!

Anyway - onto the corps:

I know that is only June. Please don't e-mail me reminding me of this. Even though it's June, I think we all can see a direct coralation often times from what we see in June, and what we will see in August. If they are good now, they will be better then, if they are bad now, we can only hope for them.... Anyway,

6th - Blue Stars (38.3) - First corps of the night. This show is definitly in it's infancy. A lot of rough moments (mostly actually). Nice size group, nice amount of guard. Music seems a little more accessible than last year. Nice percussion section. I'm sure will get better.

5th - Capital Regiment (42.7) - Wow! What an improvement over last year! They are so much larger, and are starting to really present a nice package! Nice visual show (their strength) and pretty nice sound. Could use a few more guard girls (only 7) This corps really seems to be heading in the right direction! Will they be division one soon? They have two brand new semis, three brand new motor coaches - seems to be well run. I applaud them for how far they have come. Good luck at DCM Championships!!!

4th - Bluecoats (64.85) - Nice start to the year. I know they are coming out earlier than normal. It is nice to see them start the season with the rest of the Midwest corps. They have a very nice package this year. It is nice to see them depart from the big band kind of jazz, into something with a liitle more meat. The horn sound is very nice and full. Nice working guard. The drill is pretty simple, and doesn't offer much too sustain your interest. I think they have locked in their 9th/10th spot, but I don't see them climbing any higher than that. Still, they are definitly kicking it up a notch or two this year!

3rd - Glassmen (68.2) - I am a big Glassmen fan, and this show does not dissapoint. They have changed the crest on their uniform this year to a triangle shaped mirror. They have gotten rid of the copper or gold color they had on the front of it. It really doesn't work for me. These were my favorite uniforms in DCI (except for the Cadets of course), and I liked them better the old way - anyway. Great drill!!! They really move! My favorite of the night. Really well performed as well. Great soloist inthe opener (I think). Very well done! The brass seems to be their weak point, and I am sure the reason that Phantom nipped them tonight (which I disagreed with). It is blatty and lacks depth. But with their drill so far along, I'm sure that this is a priority for them in the coming days. I think the music is more interesting than last year as well. The drill really shows it off well. I think they are back in the hunt for the final TV spot again this year. They will definitely be in the think of it come August!

2nd - Phantom Regiment (68.55) - I had heard a lot of negative things about these guys, and was not expecting much after the last few years. Could I have been more wrong? I have had the unfortunate opportunity to see early shows of these guys the last few years, where they wander around the feild kind of clueless. I will never forget two years ago - the worst show I had ever seen out of a "big guy" early on. But this year I think they have really got it together. Great brass sound!!!! The best of the night. A fantastic run in the opener. Could use a little more agressiveness in some of the attacks, but very well done. The color guard amazed me. In what was a pretty lack luster night for color guards, they were fantastic! I would say the best as well, except for all that the Cadets do, it really didn't compare. The unfortunate thing is, that the reports of a bad drill are very correct! The opener starts out relatively exciting, but by the end of the show, the writer obviously was getting tired or running out of ideas, because it just ain't there. How can this show possibly compete with the G-Men's or BK (who noone has seen yet - but always have fantastic drill), when they are clean and smokin? It is just entirely too simple, which may explain their great brass sound, not much else to work on. In any case, I thought it was a great show, and they are guaranteed to remain in the top 8. Don't know if I would guess much higher than 7th.

1st - The Cadets (72.45) - Let me start by confessing that I am a rabid Cadets fan. I love them, I have always loved them, and can't imagine a time when they will not be my favorite corps. I think George Hopkins is a real innovater, and I welcome his new ideas (most of them). With that said - I hope that I am dead wrong with what I am going to say next. I hope that on August 13th, Cadets members can e-mail me and tell me how much of an idiot I am. I hope that I am buying every person that says I am dead wrong a beer after Finals on the 12th. Ready? The Cadets will not win the title this year. There, I said it. Not happy I did, but I fear the worst. I saw the corps practice yesterday and saw the show tonight, and after that, I am not as impressed as I usually am. Here in Ohio, we are usually graced with one of the first, if not the first compettive show of the Cadets. I am always there to see it. I feel two things. First they are not quite as prepared as they usually are (especially the color guard), and the show is not as interesting as normal. First the show: I love the opener. I think it is very intense, and is the closest we get to seeing the trademark Cadets. Fast runs, exciting marching. This was the only goosebump moment of the night - very nice! Definitely some spots that need help. I know they are trying to correct some timing issues, sections are still nearly trainwrecking, especially the duet section in the opener. The second tune, Moon..., doesn't do it for me. Too much standing around blowing your brains out (but what a great sound). The drum features are neatly presented with the corps playing backfield while the different sections play, but it just doesn't seem to fit for me. Also - I hate to see guards dancing around. I never feel as if what they do is that hard or interesting (any corps). I would much rather see some equipment in their hand! And no, I am not an old fogie wishing for the days they marched up and down the field in straight lines, the dancing just doesn't get my blood pumping. I hope a lot is done with this section. The ballad is OK - but again - not much movemement. Closer - cool. Back to the frenetic marching and all. The last 20 seconds still don't gel musically - but I'm sure it is going to come together. I just think their mission to "please" the audience left this audience member a little dry and wanting more. Also, I thought overall the guard was quite sloppy, and not up to their usual amazing standard. I really hope that I am wrong on this and am celebrating with all the other Cadets fans - but I don't know. I guess next week may tell us a lot. They are definitely top 4 material though - no doubt. Pull it out guys - I'm rooting for ya!

Lastly the retreat. I hope this is just a DCM thing, but the night ended terribly. I remember the good old days when every corps played off the field after reteat. That was a real treat. Then they went to the America playing with the champion doing an encore - I could live with that, had it's advantages. Now DCM (DCI?)has gone too far. Tonight's show was hosted by Capital Regiment. So after the show the Cadets did not do an encore, which most of us were anxiously waiting for, the Capital Regiment did. I understand that it was for their hometown fans and all, but most of us wanted to hear more of the powerhouse, the lone big guy in this 6 corps show. Instead about 20 people stayed and heard CR. Many of us followed The Cadets back to their busses in hopes of hearing something out there - no such luck. I hope this will not happen again. I love the encores, and want to hear them by the corps who won them!!! Any one else found this to happen at their show and not like it?

Sorry this got so long.


This is my first review. I am writing it in the hopes of encouraging more people to also contribute reviews to this newsgroup.

*Disclaimer - This will be a critical review. If you can only handle positive spin, please don't feel the need to read further. Also the reader should know that these are only my opinions. I know that many people at the show would disagree. They are welcome to respond or post their own review.

Setting: A beautiful clear night in Columbus for Capital Regiments home show, at what may be one of the best venues for Drumcorps. The show was at Crew Stadium - the best and only professional soccer specific stadium in the country and the home of last years MLS all-star game and the Columbus Crew.

Note to Sue K. and Dan A. - Please investigate hosting a DCI regional here in the near future. Lets get that show away from the Hoosier Dome and into someplace acoustically acceptable.

The announcer was terrible as was previously stated. In his defense I have heard that there is a delay in the stadium between the mike and the PA. Anyone who has had to speak and hear your own voice a second later knows that this can be difficult to say the least. I was also disappointed that they didn't take advantage of the extra wide soccer field. The front sidelines could have been marked 10 to 15 yards closer to the stands, putting the show right in the audiences lap. My seat was dead center on the first row of the upper level. Perfect!

Corps (in order of performance):

I try not being critical of performance for June shows, but rather try to establish a baseline to gage improvement. I do take exception when a corps does not have a show completed, as the audience paid for a ticket and there should be no excuses for incomplete drill or guard work. If one corps can be ready all corps should be ready. Rumor has it that DCM is cutting the amount of money a corps receives from the show if their show is incomplete. If this is true it was a welcome change as no corps gave a standstill performance for half of their show this year.

Blue Stars / 6th (38.80) - A strong percussion section. The horn line is inexperienced and small. A pretty entertaining show design. I look forward to watching these kids improve over the summer. I'd love to see them get more horn members to produce a sound for the drums to play behind.

Capital Regiment / 5th (42.70) - What a great overall improvement from last year. Everyone around me was duly impressed. The uniforms are sharp, and I counted approximately 75 members. The guard is small, however, at this size corps, a decent size horn line seems to be the most important factor in the audiences’ experience. Capital had a nice balanced sound top to bottom. And enjoyable music and drill to boot. I look for them to make finals this year. I was very disappointed in their drumline tonight. They sounded much better in the parking lot. The Drum feature was a disaster, with 2 members dropping out and recovering. I really felt for those kids tonight. I'm chalking it up to the home show pressure. Blue Stars drums only beat them by 6 points. I don't see how that is possible.
Side note: I hope Rick Bays takes a cue from the 80's Glassmen and creates a strong enjoyable family atmosphere within this burgeoning organization. I'd like to see the kids stay loyal to building the organization year after year instead of bolting for a top 12 corps as soon as they are ready. This has been a problem with Columbus corps in the past.

Cadets / 1st (72.45 with penalty 0.7 - High GE, Visual, Guard, Brass, and Percussion) - Another strong show from The Cadets! Not a weak caption to be found! Although I personally prefer the older, less "bando" Cadets shows. This one is quite nice and tasteful. I especially loved the guards dancing. I’m not usually a fan of body work, but this fits. It was really well written work and they showed amazing aptitude - and it's only June! I also like the drum feature. It is very musical like every good drum solo should be. In fact each section of the battery is featured playing the musical theme while the horns continue to vamp the theme backfield. Truly refreshing! I hope future show designers copy this idea left and right. My concern with this show is its impact and potential early peak. They will definitely need to add some impact points for GE later in the season, as I'm sure they will.

Short Intermission. This was not really necessary, fortunately however, it was not nearly as long as it has been in past years.

Glassmen / 3rd (68.20) - Please note that I marched snare with the Glassmen and 1993 and may exhibit some bias here. I have been very critical of past G-men shows, so I believe I'm objective when I say that you will see something different from them this year; New staff, more member talent, and most refreshing, a much improved show design! This show is COOL! This show is the most challenging show Glassmen have ever attempted. They are really going for it this year! It may be another year or two before they can challenge for the top spot, but I think that they will make the DVD this year and the PBS telecast. I hope you will agree. Their battery is playing extremely well. They may have beaten the Cadets in drums if Jay Webb wasn't so intimidated by the fast moving drill to get back field to listen to them! I haven't a clue how Phantom managed to beat them in percussion. Visually this show works for me. The drill is very musical and fits within the show design. And boy do they move! They have much cleaning to do, however, I still don't understand how they could have scored 8 points lower than Phantom and 19 points lower than Cadets in ensemble visual. Their guard score also seemed low to me, however I'm not the right one to critique color guards. Can guards be scored objectively? Their always seems to be much bias on the part of guard judges. Enough complaining about judging and scores. I've never put much stock into them anyway. Glassmen's brass line should be strong this year. They have a nice balanced sound with some demanding and exposed parts. Their soloist had a beautiful tone quality in a very demanding part. I can't wait to see these guys in Buffalo!

Bluecoats / 4th (64.85)- Another pleasing Bluecoats show that fits right within their corps style and tradition. The opener has the classic Bluecoat Latin jazz flavor that many in the audience were craving. It's too bad Madison had to back out of this show. I believe we need more "fun" crowd oriented shows in drumcorps that will appeal to the mainstream. The 'coats opener was a "fun" number, however they lost me after that. This show lacks impact and the ability to get people out of their seats. I hope they can find some ways to keep the show interesting from start to finish. The bluecoats have the high decibel level and bluecoat sound that we have come to expect. I see a lot of talent in this group. It's conceivable that they could take Phantom in DeKalb.

Phantom Regiment / 2nd (68.55) - I hate to be so critical of Phantom as they have always been one of my favorites, however, I am very disappointed with their product again this year. I'm not going to waste time trying to explain how the beat Glassmen tonight. Even if the judges never catch a clue, this placement can't last for long. Unfortunately, Phantom doesn't have a show that will be able to compete down the stretch. Everything I've read on RAMD is true. The drill is weak and unmusical! I was also terribly upset not to hear the deep and dark "Phantom" sound. Where was the low end? Even the sop parts seem to be written up in the register. I fear that they will be plagued with rewrites again much of this year. While everyone they hope to compete with is cleaning (Glassmen), they will be learning new sets and hopefully breaking in new contra players. The music is pleasant, however, this show also lacks GE and impact points. Needless to say, I don't expect to recognize their show in Buffalo. If I do, we may not be watching them on Saturday night. I hate to be so harsh, but I know they are capable of so much more! I'm not sure what the problem is, however, I hope they figure it out soon and put out more products like they did in not so distant past.

Retreat and Encore: Glassmen played to corps on the field. I'm not sure why Capital didn't choose to do this. Maybe they haven't had time to work on the street beat. I hope the decision wasn't made based upon their performance on the field. They will learn fastest by being thrown out there to perform. It was a very poor decision to have Capital Regiment play the encore. Cadets earned the right to do it, and the paying audience earned the right to hear them. I would tell you how they did, but like most I didn't stick around to find out.

All in all it was a great show for June. I hope someone steps up to plate to get a DCI show back in Columbus. Their would be much more interest later in the summer. In any event, I hope that Capital Regiment can afford to have the show in Crew stadium next year as well! It proved a great venue to showcase so many hard working and talented performers.

Drew Thyer

Saturday June 17

Buffalo, NY (DCI)

Here's a "For What It's Worth" review of the show in Buffalo, June 17.

Before the show, members of the DCI staff circulated through the crowd and offered people an opportunity to become "Fan Judges". You had to answer a drum corps related question and were given a T-Shirt(which they insisted you wear) and a set of sheets for you to write down your comments and score for each corps. They then collected the sheet of each corps after each performance.

The show started with the Cadets in an exhibition which was "judged" by "Fan Judges". To begin with--they were uncovered--no shakos. Their performance seemed like it was their first time in front of an audience this year--which I believe it was. The whole thing seemed very tentative and a bit weak. The horn line just didn't seem to carry. Nice program overall though. I didn't like the quad feature. I liked it last year but not this one.

Next up were the Cavaliers. You could tell this was not their first show. Very confident about what they are doing. I believe they are playing all original music and that's hard to sell. They give it a try though in their own respected fashion. Very much a Cavalier show and very good. The only thing I didn't like were the horns playing on the ladders in the corners. Also, the hornline just didn't seem the have much punch.

Next were the Empire Statesmen. Lots of rumors about these folks being in trouble. Forget it. Came out with 53 horns and sounded and looked pretty good for a DCA corps on June 17. Drum line was very good and playing all the time. Color guard was small(only 15).

I saw the Syracuse Brigadiers three time last year (including DCA Finals) and it was like they picked up where they left off last year. Really ready! A very "in your face" show which everyone liked. Seems like you concentrate on their horn line but the guard is very good and the drum line feature is neat with the pit coming over left of stage and playing on bass drums set up horizontally on stands. Then the entire rest of the drum line slides to the same area playing snares(matched). Looked great, sounded great. Catch 'em if you can.

Twenty minute break.

Cavaliers in "real" competition. Again, a very smooth, controlled performance. Not much more to say about it other than that they seemed a bit more polished--which will happen each and every show from now 'til August 11. Still though, not many impacts horn wise. Really like their drum feature but it seems too short.

The Cadets finished up the evening competition wise. WOW! Somebody "kicked butt" at half-time! Very loud and very crisp. Still didn't like the quad thing(or are they quints, whatever). Drill was sloppy but it all makes sense. It's going to be crowded at the top this year.

The set of judges they used tonight did both DCA and DCI corps but with the sheets from each circuit. I believe one extra judge was added for the DCA format.

The "Fan Judges" had Cavaliers over Cadets by a couple of points. They had Syracuse over Empire by about 10 points.

The real scores have been posted elsewere.

I have to say I agree with all the scoring tonight--meaning that Cavaliers did seem better than Cadets in the first run through but Cadets bested them the second time around.

A great drum corps evening but a disappointing crowd for a Buffalo show. I don't think it was promoted in the schools like usual.

Next show for me--Stockton, CA. What a life!

Robert E. Peterson

Before anyone accuses me of bias or rooting for a bad football team, let me state that we are all biased in some way, and i will give it up for those that deserve and dont deserve, regardless of who my faves are.

My seats were trackside for Empire and about the 45 18 rows up for everyone else. I didnt see Cavies or Cadets for the fans judged shows, so I cant comment. I was out w/Empire warming up.

Empire..........First show out...jitters? yes. rough spots? yes. However the improvement I saw in two days with the corps was great.A youngger corps than usual, but all in all, very hardworking. Horns had some great moments, w/excellent soprano solos. Guard had work for one song and that hurt, but they'll be ready soon. Drumline had a few uglies but again, a young line, and very hard working. Its a true Empire show, big band, props( not a lot, at least for now).

To the members of ES....dont get down. Your hard work this weekend may not have shown in the score last night, but it will down the road. Trust your staff. And, as always, thank you for your hospitality this weekend. Work permitting i'll see ya soon, if not, see ya at Scranton.

Brigs..........Wow! Very ready, very prepared, very impressive. the props help them look bigger. Much better show design IMO than last year, and the crowd reacted to it. I only see one flaw...too many park and barks. the however many man snare line at the end was great Ge, plus it was clean for the most part. Killer soloists, good guard work....another monster in the making. Oh...and LOUD!

Cavies.....I need to see this show again. I didn't know the music as it's original but I liked it...great field coverage. the snare thing with the hi hats defies description. so does the tenor thing. Horns seemed a lil weak, but with that drill stamina could be an issue as well as doing the show twice in one day. As this show grows, it will definately be very interesting to see where it places. The Green machine rolls on....

Cadets.........Moondance, if the tenor feature is reworked will be an all time classic. Young Persons seemed to have a slight tear duing the dueling melodies but locked back in. Not using shakos seemed odd....made them look smaller. Great guard work, and whatever the thing is that they use in place of guns n blades was cool. Farandole seemed a little flat, but I learned a long time ago in June what you see will be very different in August. This show should too be in the hunt.

Mr Cesario was great on the mike....TA and JA had me rolling in the Dallas hat had nothing thrown at it. Oh, great cell phone coverage from downtown Buffalo for future reference AT&T fans.

Only complaint was bass lines didnt carry in the stadium. I dont know if the sound carried back to the outfield wall and got lost in the higway or what, but bass lines didnt project for anyone. Nice stadium though, bet baseball looks killer in there.

Next review after the Philly show......


I've only seen 1 real review of the Buffalo show, so here's my 2 cents:

First of all, I march with Mighty St.Joe's. We did a parade last Thursday night in Spencerport, then on Saturday we did a stand still concert and a big parade in Wellsboro, Pa. Wellsboro is our favorite parade of the whole season and I speak for many of the corps when I say that -- it is just so much fun! We stop and play to the crowd a lot and they hold up signs urging us to stop and play for them -- at one house they even give us refreshments! After the parade we all go to the Penn Wells hotel lounge for more refreshments, singing, and getting loud, etc. A pipe band came in and played for us and had a few pints with us....

Then, to top off the weekend, quite a few of us went to the Buffalo show. We had a great time -- the Cadets and the Cavies were both impressive. The second time the Cadets came out we all noticed that there were a few changes made and they were even better than the first time! Loved the music, loved the guard, those rifle things that looked like a combination rifle/boomeragne. Why didn't the corps have shakos on?

Cavies were great too -- I would have a hard time judging either corps!

Syracuse Briggs were absolutly fantastic! When they took the field, they really TOOK THE FIELD! They were totally ready for competition! The concert they put on in the parking lot after the show was the icing on the cake -- FANTASTIC! It was great to see some of the Cavies watching them with big smiles on their faces!

Lynn Ann, Mighty St.Joe's

Akron, OH (DCM)

Here's my review of the Akron show: Sat on the 50 yard line (it was general admission and the crowd was only between the 35s). Akron stadium, affectionately known as the Rubber Wok to those that spent time rehearsing there during our drum corps days, has a giant light post right on the 50 yard line obstructing every view of the middle of the field. That sucked.

Anyyyyyway keep in ming these are one man's opinion, don't take it personally,

Glory Cadets, I know it's early, but yikes. They sound like they've only had a couple of days together. I've never heard a drum line at this level play that dirty (they literally don't know their parts). Sorry if that sounds harsh, but there were people making stuff up out there.....lots of work to do. To they're credit, they are larger this year, but need color guard desperately.

Capitol Regiment, I was plesantly surprised with their size, sound, etc. I think this is the first time I've seen them. Don't like the unis (Royal Blue tops with smoke gray pants)....projection is bad and it looks like a band. I'm not sure if they are trying to compete in Div. I, but the potential is there. They will be solid.

Pioneer, I was kind of dissappointed in them. I'm used to a big, clean sound from them and it just wasn't there. Music choices are good and appropriate for their talent level, but it's extremely unmusical at this point. They need time to get this together. Visually the spats hurt their feet, but who cares, I like them.....

Colts, From a technical standpoint, the corps appears to know what they want to do visually. The kids have a good handle on their visual technique...but, they've got issues still (who doesn't though it's June!) with the drill. My beef with their show is the lack of demand both musically and visually. When I saw what they were playing I kind of laughed....I had thought about playing two of their pieces with my middle school band this next school year. I gave them the benefit of the doubt thinking they'd do something to beef up Ron Nelson's "Courtly Airs and Dances", but was let down. Very easy. Effective, but easy. Dona Nobis Pacem was pretty, but again, easy. It's a very safe show that's going to need an injection of excitement to do any damage. Solid, yet unspectacular.

Bluecoats, The consensus seems to be that this show is a departure for the Bluecoats. They are doing things that you wouldn't expect. There is NO swing. There is less flag work than ever, and MUCH more dance (which is very hot during the Red Cape Tango). Just my opinion, but I think the judging community needs to stand up and give credit to this CG. Addition of the guys has added a ton, and the dance sequences are the hottest thing since BD '92. CG work is only 75% done (I don't like it when corps do that)...but should be done by the end of the week (I'm told). Drum line is VERY good (they were VERY good last year but never got credit). They have a lot of exposure and throw down with tons of intensity. Horns are what you'd expect, loud, well balanced. They still have some timing issues to iron out (something everyone had trouble with tonight), and some precision issues (two very noticable flaws), but over all its a very demanding and entertaining show, albeit, not what you would expect from them. Some nice solo work! I'd like to see a little more innovation and punch overall. The show is still in it's skeletal stage and you can see where things are going to be added (or re-written). They aren't done with the drill yet (5 sets will be added this week). I must make mention of the front ensemble....if you check out one thing from these guys, listen to the amount of notes they are playing. I'm a big fan of the pit getting in as much as they can and they certainly do! Great keyboard feature at the end of the show....listen for it.

Phantom Regiment, The spread between 'Coats and Phantom should be closer. Phantom has a strong grasp of what they want to do visually and are executing better. But the drill is exceptionally safe (I'm not sure but I think they stayed at a 3 step for at least 75% of the show....that's band-o). Good things with Phantom include the musical selections. Great book. Shostakovich is VERy ragged right now, but when you see them, all you can think is, "This show is going to be very tight when they get some time to rehearse". It's designed to be squeaky clean, which translates into a somewhat easy show. However, they do have their classic PR moments. 'Coats should be ahead of them in drums. Is PR's drumline doing the same percussion feature we've seen for the last 10 years? Yep. It's so predictable in the show too. Not sure why, but this show is only designed for the middle of the pack. It's clearly not a top 5 show. Still, I think it's a strong musical package. Visually appealing, albeit still dirty (although I could stand to see a little more variety in the drill). I think they need to be looking over their shoulder. If the Bluecoats tighten a few screws on that horn line and make that drill presentable, they'll catch PR.

Sorry to be so verbose.

Reedsburg, WI (DCM)

Finally a moment to review the Reedsburg Show. First, what a mess trying to get to Reedsburg. All roads to Reedsburg were under construction or closed. We were cuting it close on time as it was and arrived at the show to hear the Racine Scouts take the field. My apologies to the Decorah Kilties...I missed your show. The program said "Styx and Stones" doing a show featuring rock music from those two bands. Should be interesting to see. I'll catch you all next time.

I heard Racine on the field as we were coming up to the gate to buy tickets. This is a brand new high school and a brand new stadium. My first complaint cam at about this point. My wife and a friend paid $10 each to see Oswego, a show that featured a full line up of corps and 3 Div. 1's. The ticket prices for the Reedsburg were also $10 to see five Div. 2/3 corps. A bit steep.

My next complaint... no one's fault really...the show started at 5 p.m. and the stands faced the sun all night....what a pain that was. Racine was just finishing as we got to the stands. We heard them finish and then found some seats...just in time for intermission. After intermission we saw Americanos, Capital Sound and Blue Stars.

First, let me say that I hae seen Racine Scouts once and now heard their closer again. They are playing things very smart this year. Brass sound is good and they are keeping things well within the grasp of the members. I'm really tired of younger, smaller corps trying to be musically and visually what they are not.

That said, the Americanos (or as the announcer said repeatedly, "The Ameericanees") look much cleaner than a week earlier in Sun Prarie. The horn book is coming together better and the whole corps had a more cohesive feel. The guard work is really highlighted as well. They play with aspects of time in this show and even have some alarm clocks going off at points. The guard starts the pendulum right from the start and aspects of this movement reappear through the course of the show. Again, musically it's coming along. My biggest complaints would be intonation at times...balance and blend.... higher horns sticking outside the ensemble, endurance.... cutting off ends of phrases and hearing feet in the sustained tones while marching. The drums and pit play a very controlled show and really try hard to balance the ensemble with the horns. This is very much to their credit. Americanos, nice work this week... keep it up!

Next up, Capital Sound...I have two sons who march Capital Sound. They are as usual ahead of other Div. II/III corps in the Midwest for this early in the season. Their pre-season preparation is often negated as they only rehearse 6 hours a week on average throughout much of the season. This "weekend only" corps impresses me with a rich sound from the lower brass. The baritone duet in the opener has great sound quality and blend for instance. I'm not always clear on what the drill is trying to convey and some of the guard work isn't finished yet, but the show features a solid book for most sections. I'm hearing some edge to the upper brass sounds at higher volume levels...that would be my sole complaint regarding the brass sound.

The kid on the mellophone solo is decent enough...(my son, Kenton). There's a redhead in the front ensemble banging cymbals, bass drums and gongs and even a stint on the tympani...(my son, Aaron). I have to remember to watch the rest of the corps at times.

I felt the energy level was down for this show compared to my viewing of them in Sun Prairie. I'll see them again in Rockford to see if it was just an off night. As they polish, they will battle with Capital Regiment for the DCM crown.

Last up tonight is the Blue Stars with the Legend of Alba Vida Loca...I think that's what the announcer said. It's actually "Alcabaca." I was hoping to see the same level of improvement with Blue Stars as I saw earlier with Americanos. Sadly, I saw more problems with this ambitious project this evening. The hornline has a great deal of difficulty with their book. Marching and playing seem to be impossible at times. Whole measures go by with few if any contributing players. There is also alot of feet in the tone for sustained notes. The guard work wasn't to the level of Americanos and the front ensemble work didn't integrate well with the rest of the percussion book.

This is an example of a corps trying to be what they are not. This book may just be too exposed for this corps. It seems like quite a challenge to pull off. What Blue Stars has is a battery. Loud, big and fairly clean for June. Several members of other corps (primarily Phantom Legion) have joined Blue Stars. The book also reminds me of a typical Legion battery book.

Marching among this drumline is another issue altogether. The lack much movement cohesiveness and they always seem misplaced on the field. It's like the just seem to saunter into the staging area at odd times, without reason or purpose. Their drill seems disconnected from what the rest of the corps is trying to accomplish. Maybe it will begin to take more shape as the season progresses. I was not surprised that Blue Stars got beat by Americanos this evening. It wouldn't surprise me if these two corps go right down to the wire in Div. III.

That's the to hear America/O Canada...which by the way should be banned from Div. II/III shows. Very dirty and nowhere near being in tune...oh...this hurts the ears.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Brace

Saturday June 16

Hayward, CA (DCI Pacific)

The reviews of the midwest shows seem to come out in droves, while there haven't been any reviews I've seen of the Hayward show! I didn't get to see BDC or Renegades, but here are a few thoughts on the others:

Extremely strong for this early out. Their total package is outstanding--one of the best productions out there... period. The entire book of Philip Sparke music is very complex and the strong brassline (larger than last years' line) is handling it very well already. Check out the last 30 seconds or so of their show... you will be amazed. Great costumes as always, especially the colorguard. These guys and gals seem like they WANT that Div. II title this year and this show is the perfect vehicle for that (and more). They were the only corps with a complete show tonight.

The corps seemed younger than in previous years and seemed to be having a little trouble with their own Philip Sparke show... maybe it's a little over their heads (?). But I heard that a lot of the kids haven't been available this week due to graduations and school commitments, and I know that the experienced staff will pull things together nicely as always. The battery showed a lot of promise, as did the large colorguard that seemed to really be enjoying themselves out there.

I hear that the A corps swept up quite a few kids from the Cadets' brass. Numbers-wise the Cadets look comparable to last year's size, but it seemed like there must have been a lot of fresh members out there. The show design is similar to last year's show that earned them the Div. II championship. Biggest stand-out: the size of their battery. They marched 4 tenors, 10 snares (more than their A corps!!!), 5 basses and something like 4 or 5 cymbals.

Ok... the "old" BD (well, old meaning mid-80's) is back. For everyone who has complained about BD these past few years, I think you'll be pleased to know that the jazzy, brassy, in-your-face sound is back. It was a very fun show that showed off the brassline's virtuosity (all new B-flats I believe). Didn't care much for the colorguard uniforms... the colors didn't seem to go together well and they seemed kind of dull under the lights down on the field. There is much in this show that will please both audiences and judges and should take them far.

Interesting start to this show... I didn't get to hear the explanation of the show that the announcer was trying to provide, but the show started off with a solo mallet player on vibes playing what sounded like a music-box lullabye, while the corps takes off at neck-break speed in silent drill (at a completely different tempo) then slams in with a loud entrance. The intro took them into Adams' "A Short Ride..." The minimalist brass stabs in the beginning seemed a little off (nerves?). The colorguard was dirty but has a great book with which to work. Female guard members have a silver double-ended arrow on the front of their uniforms... didn't understand that exactly. The end of the show wasn't visually complete, but musically it consisted of a rhythmic vocalization/rap of the members chanting "New Era." The hometown audience really enjoyed it although I thought it got old real fast (it lasted what seemed like a good 20-25 seconds). Again, maybe if I understood the show concept better I could've appreciated it more.

Just some of my random thoughts... hope I didn't offend anyone, but I figured if no one else was going to review it then I might as well...

Ty Edwards

Not many reviews of the Hayward show so i'll give my 2 cents.

Beautiful day and night for a show. I think they remodeled the stadium since the last show here a few years ago. They now have stadium lights where as before, SCV had to rent lights. The lineup was light, only 6 competing units. Here's a short review of the shows.

BDC: Very cute. Familiar movie themes. It's always a pleasure to watch these kids perform. Future BD in the making.

SF Renegades: Much bigger than last year. They sound great. Doing music from Kingsmen, SCV and BD. The last piece is a screamer. Great soloist. Lots of old BD and SCV members. Things look bright for the SF Renegades.

Manderians: WOW!! Talk about being ready for the season. They are in midseason form. This is a high quality show. Very fast paced and demanding drill. I didn't think i'd like Sparke music but i did. Never seen them this good, period! They are primed for a great season ahead.

BDB: Show seems kinda slow moving. They'll improve over the next week or so. The strength again is the colorguard. Good work. Mostly members from the Open guard that took the bronze medal at WGI. I didn't care much for the music.

SCV Cadets: DCI division II champs. good show, not great. Hornline seems young. Sounded very dirty. Should improve. Drumline seems to be the strength. Huge line. 10 snares. At times though they overpowered the hornline. Not really in the same league right now as Manderians but they will get better. Not going to Buffalo to defend their title. They should make an exception this year. Oh well.

Blue Devils: Awayaday Blue. I love the opener. Very jazzy piece. Lots of power in the hornline. Very clean marching. I didn't see the drill moves, as i was sitting kinda low. Colorguard again is great. Should get interesting when they add more stuff. No more theme shows, this is just music and marching. The ending is not finished. They stood playing for about 2 minutes. Should contend again for another title.

SCV: New Era Metropolis. I think the announcer said this was a show about the modern day workforce. Would't have know that. The opening is a teaser. The colorguard starts out dancing to the pit playing, the horn and drumlines are not playing, then they start to move from one side, then another side, then wham, power! Loved it. Typical SCV show, fast drill moves, tight percussion and dark brass sound. Musically though, it didn't grab me. I didn't care much for the ending. They seem to do this rap. I bet this will change.

Will be going to the July 6th and 7th shows here so i'll post them as i sees them.

Douglas Avila

Jackson, MI (DCM)

Glory Cadets 29.6
Small corps, I applaud their efforts.

Capital Regiment 41.9
Wow, these guys have a fun show. They will be smoking come July 48 Horns, and a full drumline. The guard had only 8 wearing Asian looking outfits for their 'Dragon' show. I think that their score was a bit low, but they were pretty dirty tonight. Great soprano and mello soloists. The hornline has a really nice tone. 1/2 of it is from Texas, and the whole hornline only recently started practicing together ( No winter camps with the whole line together). They seemed tired as well...

Pioneer 45.9
Their show is ok. About 42 in the horns that play better than Capital Regiment at this point. full drums ( sounded pretty good too). Interesting guard. These guys were score a bit too low as well.

Southwind 51.5
LOTS of potential. Scored too low IMHO. The had some nice visual moments.

Colts 56.35
Nice. Can't remember too much, except that they have a nice visual design. They sound good too. I thought they would score a little higher than Bluecoats.

Bluecoats 60.1
Wonderful show. Really mature design. They seemed aggressive compared to past years.

Madison Scouts 62.15
The guard looks just fine thank you. Cute Purple tops going into black at the bottom of the shirt. The pants are black this year as well. Cymbals have some really cool stuff going on. All in all, this was a really FUN show. It's an in your face show. Thank! I really thought they would be scoring higher. I'm no Madison fan either. This years show is MUCH better than last year's show. Look for this to really cook at Finals.

Phantom Regiment 65.6
Can't remember too much about them except that they didn't march BAD, but they didn't march too great either. They sound wonderful. Festive Overature is great!

Glassmen 67.75
WOW. This is their 40th anniversary. It shows. They kicked butt tonight. They have a soprano soloist that plays flugel horn during the second piece. He ROCKS. Never missed a note. The show is something special visually. G-men get to stomp in the show! Look for this show to take them far. There was a lot of visual dirty, but duh!

Cavaliers 72.9
I like the guard uniforms. Blue Top, black pants. There are 'corner' designs on the guard uniforms. The show is really dirty visually, especially in the end, but you can see that it will rock. The horns are not as loud as the g-bugles, but such is progress... Too much going on to really remember after 1 viewing.

Off to Buffalo tomorrow!


It was a very beautiful day for drum corps in Jackson. Temperatures were in the low 80's during the day and it stayed quite comfortable during the show. I had seats just to the right of the 50 yard line, about 14 rows up from the field.

This will be less of a review and more of the impressions I got from watching and listening to the corps perform (mainly listening. I AM a brass player, after all!) There will be both compliments and criticisms, although I did try to compliment more than criticize.

GLORY CADETS: 10th place, 29.6
First thing I noticed about Glory is that their lonely contra player is a horse! He has wonderful tone, knows his book, marches great. Unfortunately, the middle and upper horns don't listen down to him like they should and, therefore, are out of tune. There were also a lot of missed notes, so they need to do their homework during the week and get their book in order. Major ensemble tears between marching percussion and pit ensemble. Drumline, in fact, had a tendancy to sound like white noise. There are only 2 guard members and, for some reason, they don't even appear until the 2nd half of the show.

CAPITAL REGIMENT: 9th place, 41.9
These guys are huge for Division II! I had been to their first camp back in November and was impressed by the sounds I was hearing. They did not dissapoint tonight! There are timing problems in the show that need to be worked out (probably will be addressed tomorrow morning, I bet). Hornline has a wonderful sound and a strong low brass. Solos were excellent, as well. What surprised me, though, was the drumline, especially the snares, were not as tight as I expected them to be. Tenors were pretty solid, but snares had white noise problems.

BLUECOATS: 5th place, 60.1
These guys play in your face from the first note! I am VERY impressed by their hornline sound, although they do stand still a lot for park and blows. Soloists did a wonderful job, beautiful tone and expression. Ensemble problem in the 2nd tune, contras were behind the rest of the corps. More ensemble problems in the 3rd tune between horns and drums. Closer is an interesting piece, seems almost like the Dies Irae meets the world of Latin music. Nice effect. Major complaint with the UNFINISHED DRILL!!!!

PHANTOM REGIMENT: 4th place, 65.6
They have improved upon the great sound they had last year. The runs in the upper and middle brass throughout the opener are great for June, can't wait to hear them in August. Excellent control throughout the hornline and the OTL is very powerful. As the show continued, though, there was a noticeable difference in hornline power when the corps was marching as opposed to when they stood still, fatigue factor. Always love Festive Overture, not sure if I like how they did it or not yet. Will be very interested in how Phantom progresses this year.

SOUTHWIND: 7th place, 51.5
Great opening move, turn around to gong and tympani crescendo as if they're going to blow your face in, then horns come down and they march. They are getting blown away by Bluecoats and Phantom in volume, felt the Southwind's sound didn't get past the drum major, even at the impacts. Ensemble sound is a problem, too, with individuals sticking out often. Very cool effect with the basses playing cymbals on the rims of their drums during drum solo, but the tenors were a mess when their turn came. They were greatly affected by the fatigue factor and did not finish strong.

PIONEER: 8th place, 45.9
I like the all-white unis for the drum majors. I do NOT, however, like the guard unis, looks like blue-gray velvet tops with buttons and braids like a military uniform with black stockings, not a good effect at all. They are louder than Southwind and they do it with fewer horn. There's a sop player who's a Blue Devils wanna be, keeps taking notes up the octave, which doesn't fit in a Civil War show. Hornline has intonation problems and needs to play to the end of the phrase.

I will have to finish this review later as it is 1 AM and I still have a 3 1/2 hour drive home.

Kevin "Gadget" Gamin

Well, since I fired off part one of my review, I've:
1) Driven home from Jackson to Richfield, OH
2) Slept for 5 hours
3) Driven from Richfield to Buffalo
4) Marched the first show of the year for Empire Statesmen.

Now, thanks to the wonderful driving skills of Fred "House" Beckwith, I can finish typing the review and send it off (before I even leave the state of NY, no less!)

COLTS: 6th place, 56.35
Right from the first note, the Colts sound WAY better than they did last year. Much better ensemble sound, very warm and dark. The music is right up the Colts' alley, too, with a rather Renaissance/Medievel feel to it (the show title is Chivalry). A beautiful baritone solo, as well as a wonderful small ensemble in the middle of their show. The guard, however, doesn't seem to have their work for half of the show. The impact points are VERY strong in the show. The Colts are doing exactly what they need to do to reclaim their finalist status.

MADISON SCOUTS: 4th place, 62.15
YEOW!!! Opening notes are AT LEAST triple forte in volume, loudest notes of the night by far and the crowd showed their approval. This ain't no 10th place corps this year. Much tighter ensemble sound and less fracking tonight than at Finals last year. Soprano soloist in the 2nd tune does some excellent work with a plunger mute. Not only have they brought back Ballet in Brass, they also play Four Score and Seven, which they used to intro B in B back in 1985. The hornline is not as top heavy as they usually are, but it's still a Madison hornline, so the upper brass still dominates.

CAVALIERS: 1st place, 72.9
They are playing b-flat horns this year, and it shows. Yes, they play in tune, but the upper register is thin, the TUBAS aren't as powerful as they need to be, and loud moments don't push the envelope as they did last year on the G bugles. Opening move in the brass line is great. Another fast-paced drill, even more demanding than last year's. The snares have cymbals on their drums and, at the opening of the 3rd section of the show, come in from the upper-right corner of the field laying down 16th notes at a fast tempo (I could almost feel the spirit of Buddy Rich throughout the stadium). Jam sessions were quite fun. The quote of Over the Rainbow in the closer was a nice touch, as well.

GLASSMEN: 2nd place, 67.75
As always, I warn everybody on RAMD that, when I review the Glassmen, I am quite biased (they're my family, after all!) I will try not to bleed cream and black TOO much on y'all...

The uniforms have new shields on the front, still triangular, with the outside triangles now black with a mirror for the center triangle. Great effect, but I kept getting flashed by the reflection of the stadium lights (imagine Mark McGwire hitting a homer with all the flashbulbs going off from the fans. Now, increase the brightness by a factor of 10 and that's what you get right in your eyes). The low brass is, unfortunately, the weak section this year, had a hard time hearing them tonight. I think the corps may have been overexcited by being at their "home" show, and it showed in their sound, very blastissimo and crass. The music is great to listen to, though, lots of dissonence and brass punches in the opener. The ballad is extremely beautiful, highlighted by a very talanted soprano soloist performing on flugelhorn. Drum solo is set in a hornline frame, but is far from the front of the field, so I feel it loses some of it's impact. Closer is Cavies opener from 1996, but totally different arrangement.

OK, that's all from this end. I didn't really get to watch anything at the Buffalo Showdown between Cadets and Cavies, so my next review will be of the Columbus, Ohio show on Tuesday. That will be my last DCI show until Erie, PA in August.

Kevin "Gadget" Gamin

Ok, before I start here just let me say that I was only 10 rows up on the 35 so I couldn't see the formations as well, as brass player I tend to focus there and this is only my humble opinion and I hope not to ruffle any feathers.

Ok, overall: Can't wait to see a recap for this show, they didn't announce anything but overall score; Many corps late getting started and getting them on the field for the finale took forever (actually about 35 minutes) ; Nice venue, great crowd (why is it I always get the teens who are at their first show with someone who thinks they know everything but actually know nothing sitting behind me? ;-)); beautiful weather; announcer was annoying; but overall a great show.


Glory Cadets - 10th - 29.6
This group is working hard but overmatched. The percussion overpowers the 12 horns almost the entire show. They need about 20 more horns and a lot of work but... audience gave them a good cheer for their effort!

Capital Regiment - 9th - 41.9
I have never seen this group and was pleasantly surprised. The show has much potential and there were very sound fundamental things happenning. Love Dragonheart! Liked the uni's - clean, distinctive. Many phasing problems though.

Bluecoats - 5th - 60.1
First goosebumps of the night! Vintage Bluecoat show Latin Sketches but I just don't get how the jazzed - up version of the Dies Iraes (egyptian death theme) fits in as a closer. Loved the entire horn line doing the Tango though. Good show - lots of fun!

Phantom Regiment - 3rd - 65.6
Loved the show - vintage Phantom - dark, symphonic. Great unison opening followed by well-played technical runs throughout the horn line. Concerto for Orchestra is very nice and Festive Overture was Great! Lot's to clean but a show to watch out for!

Southwind - 7th - 51.5
Maybe it was because they followed Phantom but I just wasn't blown away by this show. I liked last year's show much better. Not a bad show - just didn't fire me up much. I though the Colts should have beat Southwind. Jack Stamp's Fanfare was well played but the Brahms just didn't do it for me and the closer was not clean enough yet (but has much potential) to make a desicion on.

Pioneer - 8th - 45.9
First corps after a 25 minute break. Seems to me they are much smaller than in the past. Only 40 horns. Some nice moments but I have seen them much better. The show has potential but will need much work. Are these guys still Div. I? They only marched 78 tonight.

Colts - 6th - 56.35
I really liked this corps. Chivalry - Holsinger, Ron Nelson - great stuff. I love the uni - very sharp and a different look from side to the other. I thought they marched a very challenging show. More challenging than in the past for this group. If they can clean this show and fill some spots they could surprise and move up this year. Great show tonight.

Scouts - 4th - 62.15
Came on with the traditional 8 to 5 company front into the Fleur! Crowd loved it! This is "in your face" Madison Jazz! The first 24 counts were the loudest I heard all night. Great soloists, a few screamers, a hot jazz book and non-stop in your face madison-style and you know it's going to be another entertaining year for them. Now, can they clean it up? The crowd groaned and booed when they were announced at 4th but as much as I loved their show, that's where I had them! Without giving it away, the closer is ripped right out of the 70's!

Cavies - 1st - 72.9
Here we go again - the cavies will definately be a contender again. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow night! Great show, innovative drill, tremendous horn book (I loved the 3rd movement esp. with the fluglehorn quartet!) Also, check out the brass during the perc feature in the third movement as they flow across the field in several undulating columns - it's another one of those signature moves they cavies seem to come up with every year. Very cool. Horn players on ladders in the four corners of the field to start the fourth movement and by far, the cleanest show of the evening.

Glassmen - 2nd - 67.75
The g-men could be this year's Boston. Loved their show (and they followed Cavies!) They have without a doubt one of the finest soloists I have ever heard in DCI. Plays Flugelhorn in the meditation - WOW! is all I can say! Very cool use of timps on the far sideline and just a much more entertaining show than (imho) last year's show. I really liked this show and felt that they were almost as clean as the Cavies. It almost felt like they took the best qualities (ideas?) from the Cadets and the Cavies and are making it work!

Well, there you have it - a little long - winded I'm sure but you didn't have to read it if you didn't want to so enjoy the upcoming shows - judging by tonight it's going to be a fun year!


Hi all- met a guy at the show who told me about this site. Although it's late- I thought I would share my thoughts on Jackson with you all.

Glory Cadets, 29.6
Very small corps but they put out a nice effort tonight. It’s nice to see smaller groups still receive support. My score: 31.0.

Capital Regiment, 41.9
This was a cool, entertaining, & fun show. I loved the guard uniforms, they were very cool. I think this corps is going to be something to contend with in Division II. They were pretty big. I have never heard of this corps before, but I welcome them to the ranks of the Division II elite. Loved their Dragon concept. My score: 42.5.

Pioneer, 45.9
This show didn’t grab me. They were better than Capital Regiment, but I don’t see this lasting for much longer. Great drum line, guard was good – unique. I thought their score was a tad low tonight- C. Regiment was much dirtier, but has the design to pass up Pioneer. My score: 48.5.

Southwind, 51.5
I liked this show & I’m starting to love this corps. They had some really nice musical & visual moments. It will be interesting to see how they progress as this show is packed with potential. My prediction for DCI: 13th. My score tonight: 53.0.

Colts, 56.35
This show was ok. Didn’t really grab me at all. They placed where I thought they should have, as they are cleaner than Southwind, but I don’t anticipate them making it back into the top 12 or staying ahead of Southwind permanently. My prediction for DCI: 14th. My score tonight: 56.20

Bluecoats, 60.1
WOW! WOW! WOW! This show is quite a departure from the typical Bluecoats design. Much more mature, in your face aggressive, and it rocked. The guard was great – lots of hot dancing going on there, circa ’92 BD. The brass line is wonderful…with a rich, well-balanced sound. They could be someone to look out for. Tonight, I thought they should have been on Phantom & Madison’s heels. Can't wait to see what they do come finals- Phantom & Madison are definitely within their reach. My prediction for DCI: anywhere from 8th -> 12th. My score tonight: 63.9

Madison Scouts, 62.15
I really liked this was great, in your face Madison. Guard & whole corps for that matter is much better than last year. As is the design, and it appears this show has the potential to do some damage. Fun show & it's great to see Ballet in Brass back. Should have been A LOT closer to Phantom. My prediction for DCI: anywhere between 8th & 11th. My score tonight: 64.50

Phantom Regiment, 65.6
I was a bit disappointed here…they seem to have taken the “easy” way out- visually. It’s a show that is designed to be clean…which, in my opinion, is taking the easy way out. They really lack the visual difficulty that the other top corps (Bluecoats, Madison, Glassmen, & Cavies) have in spades. I am surprised, at with the lack of visual difficulty, they are scoring so low. This should sound the alarm as when Madison & Bluecoats clean, it’s going to be hard for Phantom to stay ahead of them. IMHO. I really really really liked the music though. It’s gorgeous & the brass line is great. Nice rich, dark sound. Not looking at the recaps, I would guess it is the brass line that is keeping them up a level. Drums & guard were ok. Great musically, weak visually. My prediction for DCI: anywhere between 8th & 11th. My score tonight: 64.8.

Glassmen, 67.75
I was entirely blown away by this show. I am not a huge Glassmen fan, by any means, but that is certain to change. They went all out tonight. The flugel solo is just plain amazing. Man can that guy play...not a flaw. This visual package is absolutely incredible…very faced paced and wild. The stomp is cool & a lot of fun. I thought a 67.75 was way too low. They should have been right on Cavies heels tonight. I just cannot wait to see how far this show takes them come finals. IMHO, it appears nearly impossible that we will see Phantom ahead of Glassmen again this year, or Madison catching them. It will be interesting, as there is no word on Crossmen, Boston & BK yet….but this Glassmen show is going to be hard to beat. I think this is going to be their best year, score & performance wise. Meaning, I think 6th is possible (pending BK, Crossmen & Boston), but I think this show will definitely hit the 93 mark, if not higher, come August. My prediction for DCI: 4th -> 6th. My score tonight: 70.0.

Cavaliers, 72.9
I think their name carried them a little further than their performance tonight. Glassmen should have been much closer. I am stunned there is a 5 point gap between the two corps. To the show -> I did like it. I am surprised they are using b-horns after voting against it…they didn’t sound loud to me. There weren't many brass impacts, which was disappointing. The guard uni’s are cool and as usual, I love the guard work I’ve seen. The drill (although really dirty) is incredible and another classic. They could definitely be up there to contend this year- but the brass line worries me. I could definitely see the lines of both Phantom & Glassmen passing them up. Although I wouldn’t have argued if Glassmen won the show tonight, I don’t see any corps from the midwest beating the Cavies this year. If they are 5 points ahead of Glassmen now…but it is possible. I had their score a couple points lower tonight. My prediction for DCI: 1st -> 5th. My score tonight: 71.0.

I really enjoyed all the corps tonight. Musically- my favorites were Phantom & Glassmen, visually they were Glassmen & Cavies. It was a great time. I wish all the corps here tonight the best of luck.

As each year passes, it seems more and more evident that the gap between the 4 power houses (Cavies, BD, Cadets, & SCV) and the rest of the field is growing. There were no surprises or upsets this weekend, and I'm betting the emergence of BK, Crossmen, & Boston won't provide any either. I wonder how it has come to be that the top 4 continually seem set in stone. It's a tad frustrating, as I would love for something wild to BK going undefeated or something. :)


Friday June 15

Oswego, IL (DCM)

The Oswego show is, by far, the best DCM show besides DCM Finals. The show is run very well and on this night it had a big turnout. People were standing around everywhere because the stadium wasn't big enough. (stadium holds 4,500 Big OHS)

Kingsmen 6th
The little guys worked their butts off and it shows. They would be a lot better if their drum majors would conduct together. The man DM was slow and the woman DM was fast. She conducted at like 220 while he was at 140.

Blue Stars 5th
Disappointed in their performance. Always liked their shows from the past, but tonight it was a different corps out their.

Capitol Sound 4th
Great opener, good color guard, good brass. Look for them to move up in the Div 2 standings.

G-Men 3rd
I am sorry, but I don't know what the judges were thinking. The G-men were so far ahead of the other corps tonight. Even the Cavies. The show just sells. Thee entire show is fast paced and the brass is fab. They have a great visual package, and the music is so different then what they have played in the past. Basically meaning NOT BORING! They will return to the top six, no doubt this year!!!!

PR 2nd
Good brass, Ok drum line


They will be in a tight race for 6th

Cavies 1st
Cool opener, but I'm not sold on the whole 4 corners show. The visual package is not usual cavies style. I think they just haven't finished adding the cool visual stuff. Very Jazzy show the crowds will love it !top 3!

Its late and I am falling a sleep. I hope you can understand what I wrote. Warning: I write bad when tired

Great summer ahead


"WHAT WAS HE THINKING?" DEPT: The Joliet Kingsmen, made up of a couple of dozen kids, many in the 10-yr. old range, got out there and made it through a show with identifiable music and drill, and a lot of guts. Then the announcer (the same embarassing oaf who always does DCM shows) states, a la South Park, that "most of these kids are from single-parent homes!" It's one thing to point out the remarkable work of these underpriviledged children, but I half-expected him to refer to them as "little bastards".

Disclaimer: It's the first show; obviously none of this is set in stone.

GLASSMEN: Hard drill with lots of movement will set them apart, but this year's music selections just didn't grab me at all compared to previous years. And, although very early, it seems like the overall talent level in the horn line just isn't what it has been. Very muddy, which bodes well for advancement over corps like Phantom as they clean. I love the Glassmen, but I think this may prove the weakest of the last three years.

PHANTOM: Much stronger start than last year. Although they seem to have perpetually poor drills, I thought last night's was more interesting than the last couple of years (although nothing to write home about). Horn line was noticeably cleaner than Glassmen. And --God bless them -- they are still using bugles, and you CAN tell the diference.

It's always dangerous to do pieces that other corps have done. PR's arrangement/performance of "Pines" last year didn't hold a candle to those of Star '91 or Cavies '82-'84. This year's "Festive Overture" is pretty good. However, Senator, they're no SCV...

NOT REPORTED YET DEPT: I can't believe no one has mentioned Cavalier's percussion section. This is the best perc. session I have ever heard at this point in the season from any corps. As tight as you would expect for Cavaliers, but much more visually aggressive than in the past. You can just watch them the whole show, but don't, because you'll miss a helluva guard (sloppy last night, but you can see where it's going!).

Extremely difficult drill, music is gonna take a few more hearings -- some questionable transitions in the arrangement. Horn line is excellent, although not clear if the horns are as good as last year. The spread, BTW, was correct, although the overall scores may be a little high.


There’s nothing like your first drum corps show of the season. It’s like Opening Day for baseball fans. Drum lines warming up, that first big horn hit, and a feeling in the air that anything’s possible, that anyone can win it all. After two weeks of cold and rain, and then several days of wilting heat and humidity, followed by severe storms, the skies cleared out in the afternoon in far west suburban Chicago. Even the wind died down to help the flags. Perfect weather.

I’m sorry I was late and missed the Tunes of Glory Pipe Band (exh) due to construction and carnival traffic, as they sounded good from the parking lot. Kingsmen are a hard-working Joliet community corps in the old style, about 16H, 9P, 7CG and 2DM. They get a big horn sound from their young line. The crowd enjoyed the book from "Sound of Music" and "Lion King" and a drum corps traditional Latin favorite whose name eludes me at the moment, and they loved the large red and green flag work. Kingsmen will grow as they work on listening to one another and blending and tuning. (6th, 29,20)

Capital Sound (about 33H, 27P, 18CG, 1DM) explore a well-chosen book and original show theme of "Exodus". They are powerful, entertaining, and engaging, as usual. I particularly liked the guard interpretation of the "Deliver Us" opener and the mello solo in "River Lullaby". They’re off to a great and balanced start and will do well with this show as they clean in all areas. (4th, 45.70)

Blue Stars (about 17H, 13P, 11CG, 1DM) feature a very strong young drum line. The drill now seems complete except for the first half of the opener which conveys a dark and mysterious mood. I thought they had the most attractive guard uniforms of the night. The horn line has work to do to master and sell the "Legend of Alcabaca" show to the audience. (5th, 39.55)

During the intermission, the Oswego Summer Band (exh) did a standstill performance of fresh arrangements of "Amazing Grace" and "Battle Hymn" and did the town proud. Their (gasp!) woodwind section seemed notably strong and (gasp!!) needs more lead parts. No, I don't agree with George Hopkins about woodwinds in drum corps. This is a band.

It’s rare to see a small, local show with three of last year’s top eight DCI corps, so the audience was primed when Glassmen took the field. And take it they did, by storm! Yowzers! This is not the Glassmen that marched Gershwin and Kodaly the last two years, but a very aggressive unit. It opens with 18 percussion in the pit, including some of the field drummers, with a powerful drum feature that somehow conveys a symphonic sound (even though I never heard 18 percussionists in an orchestra) as the corps rapidly pivots through sharply angled forms behind them. True to the title ("Imago"), they feature African dance motifs, yet blend it at one point (Meditation?) with a lovely, extended, light and lilting, almost British cornet style sop solo that’s bookended around a power ballad motif. If it sounds confused, it isn’t. It blends and works very well. Not quite as clean as Phantom, though good for mid-June. At one point, a guard member apparently grabbed the wrong flag and proudly finished the show with it, as if by design. No matter… ya gotta love the first judged show of the season! I thought Glassmen would barely outscore Phantom overall on the strength of visual demand and effect; wrong again (3rd, 65.35); otherwise, I thought the judging was on target tonight.

Phantom Regiment seemed to field a full corps, but a sign on the souvie wagon said they still need five members for the horn line and color guard. Those who already know and enjoy Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture will love PR’s gorgeous and immediately accessible charts. Most everyone else will get there by the end of the summer. The good news is that Phantom is several weeks ahead of last year’s pace in mastering their music, despite its difficulty… most impressive. It still needs more punch, particularly in the Bartok. They’ll have to decide whether to keep playing it symphonically straight as they do now or to go for the crowd by goosing it a bit in key places, as they easily can if they choose. The bad news is that I don’t think this drill works, particularly in the Bartok. It lacks clarity and impact in the forms, is not memorable, and does not communicate the music as dramatically as it could. Part of it is their uniform. I know they know their uni is not popular but just don’t have the money to replace it right now, but I couldn’t help but think how much better the Barkok would work in all black or at least black tunics with the corps going through an SCV tunnel into all white for Festive. Cleaning will help the visual, and maybe if I see it more I’ll grow to like it better, but my first impression was that it was not a great visual design and that this could hold Phantom back again. Nonetheless, a very enjoyable show (2nd, 66.10).

My first impression of The Cavaliers taking the field was wondering who was thinking what when they designed those tight royal blue and black box guard uniforms. Just not a Cavalier look. But when they immediately open into a very dramatic large blue wave flag toss over a file, with one guard member running all the way down the diagonal file from the front left corner to catch the last flag, yeah, I guess it works! This is another very aggressive, go for the jugular show, like Glassmen. Also like Glassmen, the music was unfamiliar to me but had immediate I’ve-gotta-see-that-show-again appeal. As the Cavies clean and tighten this classical and jazz-oriented "Four Corners" program, and it’s not at all bad for this point in the season, this will become another cardiac corps that will have them gasping for air in Buffalo. I’m not sure this show is designed out yet. The big impacts come in the first two-thirds of the show, and I think some changes to the ending will take this show further. Perhaps a return reference to the opening flag move, taking it back to one of the corners on the right side of the field would wow ‘em more. Again though, terrific start, endless potential. (1st, 71.60)

Bravo! to the Oswego Optimist Club and DCM for a great early show. This is a fine high school stadium for a drum corps show in a small town, not steeply sloped, going 30 rows back and not as wide as the end zones, with great sight and sound lines to the field over a wide track.

Frank Costanza

Racine, WI (DCM)

A beautiful evening in Racine. Hammes Field is a great venue for a show.

First on: Americanos: Did not get a close look. Have seen them twice. A nice show which is improving quickly. Not all that fond of the book, but Americanos are attempting a difficult show and will be in good shape for Division III at DCM. Score: 37.?

Next: Racine Scouts: What can be said about this very small, very young corps. The staff continues to get the most out of these kids. They love what they do; the "bleed blue". Score: 32.?

Kilties Sr: Ok, I was in the midst of this show. Kilts are working hard to improve what could be their most challenging show since 1997. A strong, exciting horn and percussion show. We are stumbling about at times..... have had very little time to clean key areas of the show......should take care of that this weekend. Opener is strong and clean; closer is almost there. Judges seem to be starting to take the Kilts more seriously....... beat Pioneer in "brass" this night. Many holes in the line..... Friday shows are tough on the Kilts who must work their jobs and then travel 2-16 hours to perform. Score: 42.6 with a .3 timing penalty.

Madison Scouts: I am having trouble enjoying this show thus far...... not much flash; not much typical Madison excitement YET. I am a huge Scouts fan...... but I think there brass line spends a lot of time moving without playing and the repertoire has not moved me yet. Percussion line is awesome! Score: 64.?

Colts: My first look at them. Another one of my favorites. Corps looks gorgeous on the field..... guard uniforms are beautifully conceived. There opener gives the audience promise of an exciting show...... but then becomes vague. There is a point in the show where all the big horns do a beautiful move; put their horns down and the players move around the field....... not sure what this is all about..... what is being accomplished? Like Madison, this hornline does not seem to play very often as a total ensemble...... hmmmm is this the trend this year? Score: 59.?

Pioneer: Love the look. Hear they are going to black pants and black shoes soon so that they will look like everyone else when they aren't wearing their uniform tops...... darn!!! I think their current uniforms are gorgeous and unique. There show is really exposed and spread all over the field, diminishing, I think, what they are attempting to present. I love this corps, but not a lot of excitement yet..... I am sure they will do some things by DCM time to improve their audience-appeal. Score: 49.?


Sunday June 10

Sun Prairie, WI (DCM)

After what seemed like a month of crummy rain, it sure was nice to sit in a stadium on a beautiful night in the early summer!

My remarks pretty much reflect what was said about Menasha. Also, I will say up front that I will never be mistaken for a journalist!

First off was the Sound of Sun Prairie. I was wondering what this band would look and sound like. Even though I had heard many good things about them before, I never had a chance to see them because they compete in a summer band circuit rather than in the fall. They performed only a portion of their show. They seem pretty well schooled in M&M basics-pretty decent body control for high school kids. I can't honestly remember what they played, but I liked that they used arrangements that featured all sections of the band, including woodwinds. One of my pet peeves with some bands is that they program drum corps knock-offs and try to sound like a horn line at the expense of ignoring their reed sections. The instructor for this group didn't fall into that category - bravo!

The first three corps up were The Americanos, The Racine Scouts, and the Blue Stars. Of the three, I thought The Americanos was the weakest. Their show wasn't done, and what was done seemed very weak, very tentative. Doing an original show is pretty ambitious, and I couldn't help but wonder if this was more than these young kids could handle. It was really hard to pick out any kind of tune in their musical selections. Mastering this program and making it a part of themselves so they can sell their show is going to be very difficult for this group. I wish them and their staff good luck.

In contract, whoever wrote the Racine Scouts gave their eight horn players something tuneful and accessible with which to work - a complete George Gershwin book. Very accessible for both the corps and the fans. Solos were spread around; nearly every one of those eight kids played one at some point in the show. I was particularly impressed with their mellophone soloist. AND, the kids marched a complete show. Their staff and parents had to be really proud of them. Good job!

While the Blue Stars didn't march their complete show, the portion they performed - must've been about 75% of the show - was done confidently. It looked to me as if their challenge will be to work some more kids into their drill and to just keep cleaning and mastering it so they can sell their show, as opposed to just getting through the show. Lots of growth potential here.

If you want squeeky clean, the Kilts aren't your corps, but if you want to have fun and be entertained, these men and women fit the bill. Their was some tentativeness in their marching, no doubt due to first weekend jitters. But the horn sound was big and fat - quite a departure after listening to to horn lines of 8-18 boys and girls. And, dirty or not, the tunes were right in the corps' wheelhouse - McDuffy's March, Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing, Strike Up the bands, and Auld Lang Syne. One thing I really enjoyed about the performance was the twist the corps put into getting out of the now famous form for the ending of McDuffy's March. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen them, but they are a chirpractor's delight. The crowd loved it. Now, if they could just get some more people in their guard...

The Pioneers are doing "Ireland in the American Civil War" as a vehicle for Gettysburg. A pretty good vehicle for them. Lots of holes in the line, but eight kids were in uniform on the sidelines. This corps is pretty young, and I expect these were high school kids just arriving after the end of school. Look for these guys to get much better as they work the new kids into the show. Note to the screamer in the soprano section: you'll help the rest of the sectin if you play within the ensemble.

Our hosts, the Capital Sound, were up next. I'm sorry that I can't remember any song titles, but they really seemed to have their program nailed. Of the four junior corps that performed up to this point, they seemed the most confident in what they were doing on the field. Good numbers in all sections of the corps. Pretty good mastery of M&M basics. I'm not a lover of endless "body sculptures" in color guard, but these kids did some pretty nice, imaginative work. It should be fun watching these kids grow with this show.

Madison went on last, and proceeded to do their best to push the stands back a few feet in the first ten seconds of their show. Wow! What a statement of "Who we are!" Very full in all sections of the corps. Some nice drill work that will only get better through the cleaning process. My personal impression is that the show has a little dip in the interest level in the middle of it, but that will also improve with the confidence that comes from repetitions and cleaning. And - great news! - the guard's pretty good for this time of year. I was told they actually had to cut guard members applicants this year - quite a departure from last year, when the guard was filled out with horn players who didn't make the cut. I can happily say that rumors of this corps' demise may be a bit premature. Where they place I can't say. But these kids seem pretty comfortable with their on-filed idendity.

Jim Anello

Great night for drum corps after the sun went down under a tree. This stadium sits into the side of the hill in front of the high school. The backfield side is a baseball diamond. Show tickets were $10 each and we had 45 yd. line at the top row. I wasn't impressed with the slop of the stands, we weren't all that high up.

This was a very typical early year show. Sound of Sun Prairie Marching Band led the evening off after a wierd drum corps moment. There obviously wasn't anyway to have the National Anthem either played mucially or electronically. So the stadium announcer had us recite the pledge of allegience. IF that wasn't an awkward third grade enough moment, there was no flag. The empty pole stared back at us from the east end zone.

Sound of Sun Prairie....they were a band...electric bass, saxomaphones, and a flag spinning, rifle carrying guard. Nothing went into the air during their entire show. I know it's early, but this set a pattern for the rest of the evening.

Up next were the Americanos from Appleton. (16 horns, 10 battery, 10 guard, 9 pit and 1 dm) This corps was obviously not ready for the beginning of the season and their show is simply too rough to comment on other than their guard will be quite good. Everything else needs lots of work. If you could tell by listening, the Americanos were playing a show entitled "Twisted in Time." Brass attacks and releases were quite bad, and the music ensemble tore apart a couple of times. It was a disappointing performance to watch.

The Racine Scouts are worth talking about. They simply maximize all of their as they are. They feature 8 horns,10 battery, 2 pit, 4 guard and a hip swaying drum major. Their show featured Gershwin music and the brass sounded great given the size and exposure during the show. Pit parts weren't complete ans some of the flag work wasn't complete as well. One nice cheese moment, the whole corps works with flags during the drum feature. Nice work sound improved over past years.

Blue Stars (17 brass, 12 battery, 8 pit, 11 guard, and one dm)

"The Legend of Alcabaca" Obviously Alcabaca was a drummer. This group has a very skilled battery. Although the battery was great...the pit parts were not complete....drill not complete....horns really have difficulty with a very exposed music and movement components. Lots of feet in the long tones. They always are way better by DeKalb, my hunch is that they will be again this year.

Intermission...commented to my wife that this show was not worth $10 so far.

Kilties...loud. (47 brass, 17 battery, 6 guard, 8 pit and 2 dms)

They're loud and they are playing the right music for them this year. The drill looks like a bunch of old folks learned it in 5 1/2 hours earlier today....oh...that's right, they did. It will work nice for them. The music is classic Kiltie fare; McDuffy's March, McCoy's Exit and Auld Lang Syne. The have A couple swing numbers in between. If they go to DCA, not having a larger and more versatile guard will hurt their chances, but the show is fun and the horns and drums all play well. I had a good time Kilts. Thanks!

Capital Sound...the host corps...(32 horns, 14 battery, 22 guard, 11 pit, one dm)

Capital Sound seemed more polished than anyone else this evening. I think they have a much more mature sound, style and look from last year. They are a bit smaller, but the drill was complete, sans a small amount of guard work, and the corps was on. The music is from "The Prince of Egypt" soundtrack. The soloists were especially notable. The whole package seemed to go very good together. Thank you and nice work Capital Sound.

Pioneer...(42 brass, 14 battery, 12 guard, 8 pit, 2 dms) Pioneer plays Irish Music from the Civil War. Mostly music from "Gettysburg." The only hiccup in the last half of the show for me. I did not like their show or the drill design at all. They are too spread most of the time and the exposure kills the horn parts. I felt like the corps lacked stamina at this time of year...that's probably my overall comment for almost every corps this evening. This show lacked impact for me and the America the Beautiful finale made me think that corps won't have to do retreat anymore. Upper brass felt especially thin. The battery played well. Guard was unimpressive.

Madison...(64 brass, 21 battery, 12 pit, 19 guard and 2 dms) Madison plays music from the jazz album "Stereophonic Suite for Two Jazz Bands." The first impact was impressive and LOUD. Don't wait for the traditional 30 second warmup before the first happens neatly on count one. I felt fewer impacts toward the end of the show. Overall the horns, battery and pit perform well, but the guard is lacking. The current work doesn't add visual impact to the jazz show. If the guard matures and the work begins to give more visual impacts, Madison will stay in the top 10.

Respectfully Submitted,
Tom Brace

Saturday June 9

Menasha, WI (DCM)

People were asking for a show review from the first weekend, so I try to write one. I'm not schooled in music, so I won't try to speak to some of the technical items, but rather as a long time fan.

Each corps had a great opportunity to march in a 3.5 mile parade on the first hot day of summer. I hated it when I had march and bet no corps member loks forward to it now.

The show site had to be switched this year form a high school stadium with plenty of seating to a middle school facility. The regular site provides height in stands so you can get a pretty good sound and view of the drill. Even with bringing more bleachers, there was not nearly enough room. At least 200-400 oversold. The show committee did a great job in trying to handle the seating situation. Hopefully next year the show will back at the larger stadium. Bleachers were only 10 rows high, so even with a seat right on the 50, it was real hard to see some of the drill work.

As usual, the evening started off with a stand still exhibiition by the Lutheran Vanguard. This 150+ member band is made up of students from 8 Wisconsin Lutheran high schools. They are a competitive parade band and always add to the show. Many parents of band members are at the show and introduced to drum corps.

First corps of the year was the Blue Stars. Even with my limited technical knowledge, it was easy to see they are a ways away form a complete show. Only 17 horns right now. Of those, 3 sat out the whole show, and 2 more sat out the last half. A good sized battery and pit. Guard is about 9 with 2 sitting on the sidelines to be added. Only one set of flags, no rifles or sabres. Sure to get better as drill is completed and members added in.

Next up was Capitol Sound. About 32 horns and full guard and percussion. Show is titled Exodus and even from the low vantage point, one can see pretty good field coverage. Provides and okay sound, and will progress throughout the summer. Love the color and style of the guard uniforms.

Then, the Kilties. Even though they marched 50+ horns, I expected a better performance. Drill looked sloppy and horns sounded off. Some missed notes on solos and missed, unclean endings. With temps near 80 during the day and a warm night, some guys were obviously gassed. Still a crowd favorite and warmly received.

After a short break, we got first look at the Americanos. Lots of new, young faces. They were just coming off their hell week, so they may have been a bit tired. Drill did not appear completely in place, but further along than Blue Stars. Marching about 22 horns, a good sized percussion section and 12 in the guard. Rifle and sabre work is included in the drill. Program is an original piece, Twisted in Time, based on Salvador Dali's masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory. Every thing should come together as summer progresses.

Pioneer gave us The Irish in the Civil War. A few holes in the horn line yet. I enjoyed their show much more than previous years. Nothing really grabbed me and made me go WOW, but the show did have a nice flow.

Finally, the Scouts came on. I am an unabashed big time fan of Madison, and I thank them for coming up to Appleton every year. After lining up to start, they did not do any warm up on the field. Don't know if this will be how they do it all year, or was done just for this show. This just set the table for the crowd. The opener is full in your face Madison sound. Pretty much knocked the lady sitting next to me off her seat. Madison just give you that full bore sound all show. The field did not have a back side set of stands, so some of the effect when playing backside was lost. Some screaming solo parts which, of course, got the crowd all whipped up. Guard work looked pretty good, only saw one dropped piece of equipment. The low seating really impacted the ability to get a feel and appreciate the visual show. At least 2 standing O's during the show.

I think the Midwest will be proud of its Drum Corps this summer. I look forward to reading 'real' reviews of other shows that can provide a technical opinion on sound, intonation, visual interpretation, individual pieces, and so on.

Old Mike

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